A total of 13 percent of NEVs were equipped with more advanced L2+ driver assistance systems, with and contributing about half of that total.

In the first quarter, wholesale sales of passenger new energy vehicles (NEVs) equipped with L2 driver assistance systems amounted to 826,000 units, contributing 62.2 percent of all passenger vehicle sales, market researcher Canalys said in a report today.

Of those passenger NEVs with L2 driver assistance systems, 175,000 were equipped with the more advanced L2+ driver assistance systems, according to the report.

China sold 1.32 million passenger NEVs in the first quarter, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) monitored by CnEVPost. This means that L2+ driver assistance systems had a penetration rate of 13 percent in the first quarter.

The Canalys report does not explain specifically what the differences are between L2 and L2+ driver assistance systems.

Leveraging their first-mover advantage in electrification and intelligence, Chinese brands are in the lead, ahead of joint venture brands in the planning and application of intelligent assisted driving platforms, Canalys noted.

Among local brands, the new car-making forces have a more obvious lead in the rollout of higher-level assisted driving features.

Of the top 10 brands in new car sales with L2+ driver assistance systems, nine are local brands, contributing 93.6 percent of sales, with new car-making power brands contributing 70.6 percent, according to Canalys.

Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) and Nio (NYSE: NIO) were the leaders among the new car-making brands, contributing 32 percent and 17.4 percent, respectively, of sales of vehicles with L2+ driver assistance systems, according to the report.

Li Auto sold 52,584 vehicles in the first quarter, while Nio sold 31,041 in the same period, data monitored by CnEVPost showed.

's premium brand Denza contributed 14.7 percent of sales of vehicles with L2+ driver assistance systems, (NYSE: XPEV) contributed 9.8 percent, and -backed Aito contributed 7.1 percent, according to Canalys.

With the advancement of market education, as well as the gradual clarification of technical routes to realize L2+ driver assistance functions, most local brands are accelerating their layout of full-scenario assisted driving systems, the report said.

Currently, L2+ driver assistance functions are starting to touch the market as low as RMB 150,000 ($20,920), according to the report.

US chip giant Nvidia still holds a major share of the market for chips that drive driver assistance systems.

In the first quarter, 44.2 percent of passenger NEVs equipped with L2+ driver assistance systems used Nvidia chips, while 15.1 percent used chips from local chipmaker Horizon Robotics, according to Canalys.

All of Nio's models currently use Nvidia chips for their driver assistance systems, while Li Auto uses both Nvidia and Horizon Robotics chips.

($1 = RMB 7.1708)

Nio's NOP+ driver assistance software available on Beijing's ring roads and major highways